Silver Swan (comics)

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The Silver Swan are three fictional characters in the Wonder Woman stories. The first Silver Swan first appeared in Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #288. The second Silver Swan first appeared in Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #15. The third Silver Swan first appeared in Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #171 (August 2001).

Fictional character biography[edit]

Pre-Crisis[edit]

Helen Alexandros[edit]

Silver Swan
HelenAlexandros.jpg
Helen Alexandros receiving her powers from Mars. Art by Gene Colan.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #288 (February 1982)
In-story information
Alter ego Helen Alexandros
Abilities Flight, creates powerful sound waves with her voice, super strength.

Born to Leda Alexandros, Helen Alexandros is a bitter ballet dancer who, disgusted by being overlooked and cruelly treated because of her homely appearance, struck a bargain with Mars to have a beautiful face and body in return for destroying man's champion, Wonder Woman. Helen becomes the mystically-created alter ego Silver Swan in the Pre-Crisis.

Diana Prince comes upon a gang of bank robbers, and a new arrival, a flying, costumed female who calls herself the Silver Swan, helps her bring them in. The Silver Swan flies off, and Wonder Woman discovers that the briefcase of secret documents she and Steve Trevor had been carrying is gone. Later, Diana and Etta Candy discover a rent raise has made it necessary for them to take on a new roommate. The first applicant, whom they accept, is Helen Alexandros, who has found the briefcase and returns it to Diana.

Unknown to both of them, the plain-faced, skin-blemished Helen is a former ballerina who has been badly hurt by rejections due to her "ugly duckling" face. After one performance in an ancient temple in Greece, Helen cried out to the gods that she hated men. At that point, Mars appeared from Mount Olympus and revealed to Helena that she was a descended on her mother’s side from Helen of Sparta, daughter of Zeus and Leda. When Mars asked if she was ready to accept her "heritage of blood", Helen agreed, and was transformed into the beautiful Silver Swan, with the powers of flight, great strength, and a "swan song" which could wreak destruction. Mars told the Swan that Helen would be able to change into her for an hour at a time, as long as she served him, and on the day that she destroyed Wonder Woman, she would become the Silver Swan forever.

Later, when Wonder Woman is attempting to return the briefcase, the Silver Swan snatches it away and defeats the Amazon in battle. But, unwilling to destroy Wonder Woman around witnesses, the Swan turns over the briefcase and convinces Gen. Darnell that she mistakenly thought Wonder Woman was stealing it. Meanwhile Doctor Psycho is able to use Steve Trevor to produce enough ectoplasm to turn him into Captain Wonder, in which identity he attacks Wonder Woman, and helps the Swan rope in Wonder Woman. Captain Wonder and Silver Swan fall in love with each other at first sight. They opt to take the captive heroine to the White House and kill her before the eyes of President of the United States Ronald Reagan. But Mars appears to the Swan and demands that she order Captain Wonder to send the Robot Plane crashing into the White House and thus murder the President.

However Steve Trevor awakens from Dr. Psycho's spell and is able to break Psycho's ability to maintain his Captain Wonder persona. Psycho crashes to Earth unharmed and Wonder Woman is able to break free. Wonder Woman battles the Silver Swan and defeats her, and the Amazon manages to prevent her plane from smashing the White House and endangering President Reagan. Disappointed in the Swan, Mars withdraws her powers and she returns to her Helen Alexandros identity, after which she disappears.

The Silver Swan reappeared in a battle arranged behind the scenes by the Monitor as one of the tests he launched to prepare for the coming multiversal crisis. The Swan appeared late one night in a Pentagon storage facility, encountering the Angle Man, Captain Wonder, and the Cheetah. They were defeated when Etta Candy used Doctor Psycho's ectoplasmitron to create for herself a superpowered identity based on Wonder Woman. (Wonder Woman #323)

Post-Crisis[edit]

Valerie Beaudry[edit]

Silver Swan
DCSilverSwan.jpg
The second Silver Swan battles Wonder Woman. Art by George Pérez.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #15
Created by George Pérez
In-story information
Alter ego Valerie Beaudry
Team affiliations Captains of Industry
Suicide Squad
Abilities Flight, creates powerful sound waves with her voice.

In the Post-Crisis continuity, Valerie Beaudry was exposed to radiation from nuclear tests while in the womb. This caused her to be horribly deformed. Valerie had no friends except for a pen pal named Henry Cobb Armbruster. The head of Armbruster International, he exploited Valerie's need for acceptance by choosing her for his Silver Swan project. Valerie was mutated by the industrialist to become the Silver Swan, granting her incredible beauty as well as tremendous hypersonic powers. He extended his control over her by marrying Valerie. He also used her to battle Wonder Woman and Ed Indelicato. Eventually, thanks to Diana and another of her pen pals, Maxine Sterenbuch, who had formed a true friendship with her over the years, Valerie saw Armbruster for who he truly was and divorced him.

Valerie, wanting to repay Diana for helping her, offered her assistance during her time as a fugitive during War of the Gods. Diana refused her however, not wanting Valerie to be put in harm's way, despite her incredible power. Nevertheless, she joined many of Earth's heroes in the battle against Circe. She later joined a short lived superteam known as the Captains of Industry. Eventually, Valerie retired her identity as the Silver Swan, but not before serving a stint in the Suicide Squad. She also appeared in Underworld Unleashed as one of many characters whom the demon Neron approached to exchange their souls to him for additional power. She rejected his offer, opting instead for a quiet life in suburbia, not far from her good friend Maxine.

Some time later, Valerie returned to the Silver Swan role against her will after reality was altered during JLA/Avengers. She appeared as part of a team of villains sent to attack the assembled heroes, but was quickly defeated by the Vision. Valerie was last seen standing in an energy bubble, bound and gagged with restraints conjured by the briefly resurrected Hal Jordan. After reality was restored at the event's conclusion, Valerie presumably returned to her peaceful civilian life.

Vanessa Kapatelis[edit]

Diana and Vanessa
Silver Swan
CircesGang.jpg
Vanessa as the third Silver Swan, in league with Circe and Sebastian Ballesteros. Art by Phil Jimenez.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance As Vanessa: Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #3 (April 1987)
As Silver Swan: Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #171 (August 2001)
Created by George Pérez
In-story information
Alter ego Vanessa Kapatelis
Abilities Flight, creates powerful sound waves with her voice, telepathy with birds

Julia Kapatelis became pregnant while she and her partner David Kapatelis were exploring Scotland. As a joke David wanted to name their unborn child "Nessie" after the local Scottish creature the Loch Ness Monster. Though humored, Julia did not agree but settled on Vanessa as a close substitute. Julia remained married to David until his death 22 years into their marriage when Vanessa was 5 years old. He died while exploring ruins in Egypt. Deciding to make a fresh start Julia took Vanessa to live in the U.S. where she eventually became the Dean for the Department of History and Geology at Harvard University.[1]

While living in the Beacon Hill section of Boston, Massachusetts, Vanessa grew up feeling like an awkward outsider in high school. During this time she had the chance to meet Wonder Woman when her mother took in the Amazon when she first arrived in the United States. At first, Vanessa was jealous of Wonder Woman's beauty, but after Diana rescued her from Decay[2] the two got to know each other better. Nessie started to love Wonder Woman as an elder sister and dreamed of fighting evil alongside Diana.

The trauma of her father's death while she was 5 years old and the suicide of her best friend Lucy, made Vanessa go over the edge and she started to blame herself for all the bad things that happened to people she cared about. Meanwhile Doctor Psycho started to cause her to have nightmares.[3] To help her daughter recover, the school counselor (under Psycho's influence) told Julia that Diana had to leave their house.

Nessie eventually recovered but she could not forgive her mother for making Diana leave and she then started to blame Diana for abandoning her. During this time Vanessa proved to be a target for Wonder Woman's enemies yet again by being kidnapped by the White Magician. She was eventually rescued by Diana.[4] Her mixed emotions were a perfect target for Circe who decided to use her to get to Diana. Thus, using Sebastian Ballesteros (the latest Cheetah) as a lure, Dr. Psycho and Circe used periodical mental conditioning and physical implants to gradually transform Vanessa into a new Silver Swan and set her against her former friend.[5] They programmed Nessie's brain and turned the young woman into a killing machine, releasing her upon Diana and Wonder Girl, whom she considered an usurper of her "entitled" role. The result of this brought about the destruction of Cassie Sandmark's school and the death of over a hundred people as well as exposing Cassie's identity. Vanessa had become, effectively, a terrorist but before Diana could attempt any resolution, the Imperiex attack and Circe's takeover of New York City occurred.

After Circe was defeated, Diana took Nessie to a hospital in Buenos Aires where she could heal. While she was recovering, Ballesteros abducted her. Veronica Cale, who greatly hated and envied Diana, bought Nessie from him and transformed her further into a cyborg, sending her back to fight Diana.[6] However, this time when Diana defeated Nessie, she begged Doctor Leslie Anderson to operate on her and remove the cyborg implants. Diana then sent Vanessa to Themyscira for surgical recovery.

A Silver Swan was present in Salvation Run among the other exiled villains and was seen in Final Crisis[7] as a victim of the Anti-Life Equation. Later, she appears in a grouping of Wonder Woman's adversaries, all gathered by Circe. The villains are defeated. Later, they are taken into custody by the Department of Metahuman Affairs.[8] It appears this may be a new incarnation of the Silver Swan as Vanessa has made a complete physical and mental recovery and has recently graduated from college, with her mother, Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, Vanessa's uncle Stavros and Diana herself all in attendance at the ceremony.[9]

Powers, abilities, and weapons[edit]

Each Silver Swan has the ability to create powerful sound waves with her voice. Her "swan song" is capable of devastating a small area of land with its destructive force. By creating a low-level humming, the Silver Swan can form a protective shield around herself that can deflect bullets and projectiles.

Unlike the pre-Crisis version, whose abilities were acquired supernaturally through the god Mars, the two post-Crisis Silver Swans need their artificial wings to control their flight motion.

Each version also possesses an additional ability which makes her unique from the other Silver Swans.

Helen Alexandros has superhuman strength. It was speculated that Valerie Beaudry had the ability to rearrange matter with her voice (but she never had a chance to be trained in doing so). Vanessa Kapatelis has the telepathic ability to control birds.

Other versions[edit]

JLA/Avengers[edit]

Silver Swan appeared in the JLA/Avengers miniseries as a villain under Krona's control. She attacked the Vision and helped take him down with her magic attacks. After other heroes intervened, the Vision phased his arm through her chest, defeating her. She is then shown bound and gagged by Green Lantern in an emerald energy cell with the other villains, save Sonar who is caught in Wonder Woman's lasso.

Flashpoint[edit]

In the Flashpoint universe, Silver Swan joined with the Amazons' Furies.[10]

Featured in trades[edit]

Silver Swan is featured in the comic book trades Down to Earth[11] and Wonder Woman: Bitter Rivals.[12]

In other media[edit]

Video games[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Beatty, Scott (2009). Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide To The Amazon Princess. Dorling Kindersley Publishing. pp. 86–87. ISBN 0-7894-9616-X. 
  1. ^ Wonder Woman Annual #1 (1988)
  2. ^ Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #4 (May 1987)
  3. ^ Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #65 (August 1992)
  4. ^ Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #85-87 (April–June 1994)
  5. ^ Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #171 (August 2001)
  6. ^ Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #200-201 (March–April 2004)
  7. ^ Final Crisis #4 (November 2008)
  8. ^ Wonder Woman (vol. 3) Annual #1 (November 2007)
  9. ^ Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #600 (August 2010)
  10. ^ Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #2 (July 2011)
  11. ^ http://www.comicvine.com/wonder-woman-down-to-earth-down-to-earth/37-133327/user-reviews/?review_id=16387
  12. ^ The Washington Times Wonder Woman faces dangerous female, Apr 23, 2005, Wonder Woman saves Silver Swan in the trade paperback "Wonder Woman: Bitter Rivals."

External links[edit]

Helen Alexandros:

Valerie Beaudry:

Vanessa Kapatelis: